Based on experience of travelling abroad, here are some top tips that I’ve picked up or worked out along the way. Hopefully they’ll help you too.
#1. Travel Roll Essentials
This is something I saw on Facebook a few years ago. When having to pack in a 72 hour bag to Czech Republic I decided to give it a go and for short stays where you need a change of top, underwear and socks everyday it’s a godsend.
You’ll need 2 socks, T-shirt and Underwear. (in this case it’s a cool ass Keeley T-shirt, Thanks Robert!)
Lay out the T-shirt flat on a bed or other flat surface. Place the underwear flat on the chest of the t-shirt.
Fold in the arms of the t-shirt to the chest.
Lay out the socks in place of the arms, open side out.
Roll the lot together, tightly so the socks are right in the middle of the roll.
Pull the open socks over the whole roll, holding the roll together.
Repeat this great space-saving idea for as many days as you are away.
Each day you only need to get out a new roll and you have all of the daily essential clothing you’ll need. Bonus!
#2. Camelbak or Drinks Container
Nobody wants to pay airport prices for water. close on £2 for 500ml of water. But then whats the alternative when they make you leave all liquids over 100ml behind the security screening. Well, take an empty drinks container (or camelbak works) making sure it’s completely empty to get through the screening, then when you get to the other side of security nip to the rest rooms/bathroom/water fountain and fill that sucker up. No more overpriced Evian in the departures lounge. Score.
#3. Multiple Plug Adapters
This one came to me one day before travelling to LA for the first time. I was photographing a Wolverhampton based band, The Whiskey Syndicate on their first American tour, and as such I had battery chargers, laptops and other such devices coming out of my wazoo. There was no way I could afford to buy 5 travel adaptors to plug everything in. Then it hit me. Just take one travel adapter and a short lead 4-way.
Instant UK plug sockets in any country.
Note: Be aware that your transformers or devices need to run on the voltages in the country that you’re going to. Most battery chargers an Laptop chargers I’ve encountered work on 110-240v, but some devices might be voltage specific. Check the labels.
Bonus Points! Wanna save a little more space and weight in the suitcase, this trick works with the smaller multi-way socket bricks too…!
#4. Organising Documents
It pays to be organised when you’re travelling, specifically when it comes to paperwork. Having papers stuffed into your bag and in no real order slows things down a lot at every turn. So I use a Document Pouch, it’s only something simple with a temporary binder but it can work wonders when you’re travelling a lot at different hotels and places.
Generally I’ll put everything I need in the order that I’ll need it in the binder. Starting with Airport Parking Documents, Airline Confirmation*, Hire Car Documents, Hotel Reservation Confirmations (In Date Order). And if you’re really organised, you can throw away (or Recycle) the documents when you’re done with them and they are no longer useful (after you’ve checked out or whatever). So the thing you need is always at the front of the pouch.
It’s an inexpensive way to add some organisation to your trip and take the headache out of what could be stressful situations when you can’t find what you’re looking for. The people at the back of the queues will be thankful that you’re efficient too… We all just want to be on our way to having a good time, not stuck in queues.
Bonus Point: Add a summary page to the front of the document pouch, with Reference Numbers, Addresses, Sat Nav locations and important information you might need to get you where you need to go. First night address could be useful for Visa Information…!
*Airline Confirmation is barely used at the check in desk any more, mostly you can scan your passport at the machines and print off boarding cards, however I like the security of knowing that I have my itinerary printed out and to hand should my phone battery die.
#5. Phone Carrier
If you travel a lot and you’re a phone-a-holic, it’s important to think about your calling plan, or selecting a carrier who is right for you. The first couple of times I went to the states I was with O2, who at that time charged astronomical prices for using the phone abroad, especially when it came to data usage. And well 8 years on and not much has changed…
“Email and browse the internet while you’re abroad for less. As standard, your data usage will be capped to 50MB (£40) per month.
Our Data Abroad Bolt On increases your standard data limit to 200MB for £120 per month.”
Wow. a whole 50mb of usage for £40, or a 200mb cap for £120. It’s nice to see that o2 are with the times. *facepalm*
However, all is not lost, you can join me and the many people like me (and everyone in my family after hearing how good it is) and join Three.
Three have “Feel at Home”, which is exactly as good as it seems to be. You can use your allowances (data unlimited in my case) whilst you are away in selected countries for no extra charge. The list of countries where “Feel at Home” applies are as follows;
- Hong Kong
- Lanzarote – Spain
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- Sri Lanka
- United States
Definitely worth a look in if you travel to any of these destinations. I save a huge amount and get to use my phone like I do in the UK. Phone signal abroad can sometimes be a little patchy, however in most places I have travelled it works as it does at home.
#6. Spare Wallet
It’s useful to save yourself from having to find somewhere to keep your foreign cash, or home cash when using your wallet to get a different one for going out and about with when abroad, it also has the added bonus of being able to keep only what you need with you, rather than carrying all those store cards and reqqrds cards that will never be any use to you whilst out of your home country. It serves to keep you efficient when in queues and paying for stuff too.
If you like to get currency before you go, it’ll already be loaded in your wallet for when you get there, so there’s no faffing with zip-lock currency bags trying to pay for that hugely overpriced beer when your plane finally lands..! Although that doesn’t tend to happen for me as the last couple of times I’ve travelled I haven’t taken any currency with me as I’ve found I’ve got as good a rate, if not better by using my card to pay for items rather than drawing out cash.